Even as marketers draw back from advertising in traditional publications, they continue to aggressively invest in custom publishing. This enables them to create relevant content that  speaks directly to their intended audiences, helping them develop new business and strengthening
existing client relationships.

One study from the Custom Publishing Council (CPC) and Publications Management said
the average U.S. business spends $912,532 on custom publishing or
content marketing activities. In 2008, there are more than 143,000 unique custom publications, an increase of 14.5% from 2007, according to CPC.

The opportunity is encouraging traditional media such as educational publisher Pearson and technology publisher United Business Media to go more deeply into the custom content field, according to a recent piece in B2B Magazine.

“Custom publishing certainly isn’t a new trend, but the number of
sources on the supply side and the growing demand is making this market
what it is today,” said Sarah Rotman Epps, a media analyst at Forrester
Research. “On the supply side, you’ve got publishers seeking
opportunities for growth. Their legacy business is decreasing and
stagnating, and they see custom as a way to leverage their existing
infrastructure so they are boosting their capabilities by acquiring
companies or beefing up their own staff.”

The rise of audience-focused, custom media is creating new opportunities for the companies sponsoring it — new ways to build awareness, generate leads and develop them. “I think all marketers are employing custom content specifically to
build or strengthen relationships with their best customers,” says Chris Schraft, president, Time Inc. Content Solutions. “For example, in the b-to-b space, often-times we’re seeing
custom content created in the form of white papers or thought
leadership pieces.”

One of the key factors spurring investment in digital custom publishing, in particular, is the growing importance of search engine optimization in the overall marketing mix. Given that the customer’s decision-making process increasingly begins with online research, it’s vital to have relevant and insightful content. “Search is a huge b-to-b driver. It’s how businesspeople find answers,” Schraft said.